Temperature and respiration affect the growth and stress resistance of Lactobacillus plantarum C17



Dr. Teresa Zotta, Istituto di Scienze dell'Alimentazione-CNR, via Roma 64, 83110 Avellino, Italy. E-mail: teresa.zotta@isa.cnr.it



The aim of the study is to gain further insight on the respiratory behaviour of Lactobacillus plantarum and its consequences on stress tolerance.

Methods and Results

We investigated the effect of temperature and respiration on the growth and stress (heat, oxidative, freezing, freeze-drying) response of Lact. plantarum C17 during batch cultivations. Temperature as well as respiration clearly affected the physiological state of cells, and generally, cultures grown under respiratory conditions exhibited improved tolerance of some stresses (heat, oxidative, freezing) compared to those obtained in anaerobiosis. Our results revealed that the activities in cell-free extracts of the main enzymes related to aerobic metabolism, POX (pyruvate oxidase) and NPR (NADH peroxidase), were significantly affected by temperature. POX was completely inhibited at 37°C, while the activity of NPR slightly increased at 25°C, indicating that in Lact. plantarum, the temperature of growth may be involved in the activation and modulation of aerobic/respiratory metabolism.


We confirmed that respiration confers robustness to Lact. plantarum cells, allowing a greater stress tolerance and advantages in the production of starter and probiotic cultures.

Significance and Impact of the Study

This is the first study on respiratory metabolism on a strain other than the model strains WCFS1; novel information on the role of temperature in the modulation of aerobic/respiratory metabolism in Lact. plantarum is presented.